One man’s way of giving back to the motorcycle community.
Touted as Canada’s only year-round motorsports facility, Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is a technical 19-turn circuit that is fun and challenging for both driving and riding enthusiasts. Located in the Cowichan Valley, B.C., less than an hour from Victoria and Nanaimo, the 2.3-km track is set against a backdrop of trees and rolling West Coast hills, and boasts exhilarating elevation changes up to 11.5 per cent. Designed by Tilke — a world-renowned designer for racetracks and test facilities — it is a challenging course to master and offers up to five different track configurations for variety.
I was fortunate enough to attend two Higgy’s On The Track motorcycle track days on the island playground last summer during their inaugural year of running events. Mark Higginbottom, the man behind Higgy’s and a track day enthusiast himself, wanted to do something beneficial for fellow riders. “I felt that running track days would be fun and a nice way to give back to the community that has been so much fun to be a part of,” he says.
Leap of Faith
Shortly after Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit (VIMC) opened to the public, Higgy noticed that there weren’t many options for motorcyclists to ride the track. With most of the “good days” going to the four-wheel crowd, he decided to take a huge leap of faith and sign a six-figure contract for nine track days in 2021. Then he held his breath.
“After 20 years of international commodity trading, I was looking for something with a little more risk and significantly lower profit margins,” he jokes. “There are few endeavors that yield returns lower than running motorcycle track days,” he went on, laughing.
Arriving at the circuit for the first time was exciting in the same way as showing up at any new track can be. I was immediately impressed with the facility’s professional and high-quality aspects, including the electric entrance gate and the state-of-the-art building featuring a 15,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, presentation centre, paddock lounge, and an observation deck offering cool views of the circuit. Winding up the hillside in the background was the track, snaking around in entertaining twists and turns.
The location itself is beautiful, and as I drove in I was greeted by many friendly and familiar faces. Track sign-up and tech were straightforward, and the riders’ meeting was informative, helpful and friendly. The clear message above all others is that Higgy’s Track Days are about safety, fun and good value.
On my first day riding the track, I was on a borrowed KTM 390 — the perfect…